“Obedience is an ability to consistently align one’s life with standards and beliefs that are outside of themselves.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 19, 2023
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8, ESV
Obedience is an ability to consistently align one’s life with standards and beliefs that are outside of themselves. As a parent, teaching my children to be obedient is one of the most difficult and persistent tasks I face. It requires great consistency on my part, pointing them to a standard of belief and behavior, and then I must remain unwavering in my expectation that they abide by this way of life.
“In our home, we do not use physical violence to work out our frustration with someone else.” “Even though it is yours, I expect you to share with your siblings.” “No dessert until you eat your vegetables.” The list could go on and on! Yet these “rules” and countless others like them create a way of being and living within our home, and it is a way of life that everyone in the home is expected to obey.
As the years have passed, I’ve noticed all three of my children have slowly learned the way of obedience, yet without fail it has come by way of suffering. Thankfully at their age, the suffering is quite limited and inconsequential: forcing down a plate of broccoli, sharing a new toy, or letting a sibling choose the Friday night movie. However, it is my hope and prayer that they are learning now, when the stakes are low, a life lesson that some of us go to our graves without ever taking to heart: you must master your desires before they master you.
Suffering, at least the kind I’m referencing in this reflection, is closely linked to training, submitting our wills and bodies, desires and emotions, to a way of life that we believe to be for our good. We trust that over time, that which is initially painful and unpleasant will shape us into the men and women we long to be. By default, our hearts and lives are not oriented toward the kingdom of God and the way of humility, yet as we embrace, often in small and unseen ways, a Christlike life, we slowly but surely discover the joy and freedom that comes from a life of obedience.
Father, help us to embrace a life of obedience and to see our suffering as a form of training that prepares us more and more for the life of your kingdom, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you more fully embrace a life of obedience to Christ and his commands?
Bright City: So Will I
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